The 2023 World Series between the Diamondbacks and Rangers gets underway on Friday night at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas. It’s not the matchup many (or anyone?) would have predicted going into the MLB postseason, but there’s plenty of storylines to watch in what should be an evenly-matched series.
The legendary Bruce Bochy is back in the World Series in his first season at the helm in Texas. Can he help the Rangers to their first-ever World Series title? Led by Torey Lovullo, the Diamondbacks are back in the World Series for the first time since their seven-game thriller with the Yankees in 2001.
Arizona features of the one game’s rising stars in Corbin Carroll and one of the hottest hitters in the postseason in Ketel Marte, as well as a Cy Young Award contender in Zac Gallen. The Rangers have star-power in their lineup with Corey Seager, Marcus Semien, and Adolis Garcia in addition to a rookie sensation of their own in Evan Carter. Jordan Montgomery and Nathan Eovaldi have been outstanding this postseason, but what does Max Scherzer have left in the tank? This is also a full circle moment for 38-year-old Evan Longoria, who is back in the World Series for the first time since his rookie season with the Rays in 2008.
The Rangers are the current betting favorites (-170 at DraftKings) over the Diamondbacks (+145), but this postseason has defied all expectations so far. Of course, that won’t stop us from giving our opinions.
Below you’ll find the World Series schedule as well as predictions and analysis from our Rotoworld staff.
2023 World Series Schedule
(All times EST)
Game 1: Friday, October 27th - Diamondbacks at Rangers (8:05 p.m.)
Game 2: Saturday, October 28th - Diamondbacks at Rangers (8:03 p.m.)
Game 3: Monday, October 30th - Rangers at Diamondbacks (8:03 p.m.)
Game 4: Tuesday, October 31st - Rangers at Diamondbacks (8:03 p.m.)
**Game 5: Wednesday, November 1st - Rangers at Diamondbacks (8:03 p.m.)
**Game 6: Friday, November 3rd - Diamondbacks at Rangers (8:03 p.m.)
**Game 7: Saturday, November 4th - Diamondbacks at Rangers (8:03 p.m.)
2023 World Series Predictions
D.J. Short (@djshort)
Winner: Rangers in six games
This is the answer I gave on the Circling the Bases Podcast earlier this week and I’ll stick with it here. The Rangers had the third-highest team OPS (.790) in MLB during the regular season and their offense has been the key to their postseason run to date. They have averaged 5.92 runs per game compared to the Diamondbacks at 4.25 runs per game. I would feel better about the Diamondbacks if Zac Gallen was pitching well, but it’s rather remarkable that they’ve made it this far with him largely being a non-factor. The Diamondbacks’ bullpen certainly has the edge in the event of closer, low-scoring games, but if the Rangers swing the bats like they are capable of doing, it might not matter. I just don’t think the Diamondbacks’ offense can hang.
George Bissell (@georgebissell)
Winner: Diamondbacks in seven games
Arizona's bullpen, which is spearheaded by the high-leverage tandem of Paul Sewald and Kevin Ginkel -- who have yet to allow a run across 17 innings of work this postseason -- gives them a clear advantage the longer this series progresses. It's entirely possible that Nathan Eovaldi and Jordan Montgomery continue to excel, and put the Diamondbacks in an early hole in the Fall Classic, but as they just showed against the Phillies, they're built for an extended series. Their lineup doesn't appear overwhelming on paper, but their exceptional team speed gives them an added dimension to manufacture runs in low-scoring contests. If they can avoid getting into high-scoring slugfests with the Rangers, which is easier said than done as the Astros just discovered, Texas' bullpen and ancillary middle relievers could wind up being their Achilles' heel in this series.
Dave Shovein (@daveshovein)
Winner: Diamondbacks in six games
I just happen to believe that the betting markets have this one wrong. The Diamondbacks are the clear favorites here in my mind. Behind Jordan Montgomery and Nathan Eovaldi, the Rangers' starting rotation terrifies me, while the Diamondbacks' front three look very strong at the moment. There's no doubt that the Diamondbacks have a much stronger bullpen -- especially on the back-end -- and I think that's going to play a major role in the series as well. One underrated aspect that I haven't heard mentioned much this week is the defensive prowess of Gabriel Moreno. While the Rangers don't run quite as much as the Diamondbacks do -- the stolen base is a major part of their offense. They have swiped nine bases so far this postseason (without being caught) -- which is nearly double the rest of the American League combined. The problem, is that Moreno towered above the league this season in catcher's caught stealing above average, as he cut down 48% of all runners attempting to steal second base. His ability to control the run game will force the Rangers to go station-to-station and limit their overall offensive output. These games are going to be close, but look for the Diamondbacks to have the edge in the end. Snakes Alive!
Shelly Verougstraete (@ShellyV_643)
Winner: Rangers in seven games
Even if some people might poo-poo which teams are batting it out for the Commissioner's Trophy, this showdown is pretty evenly matched. On paper, the Rangers have the clear advantage when it comes to the lineup. From top to bottom, there appear to be very few holes. Jonah Heim and Leody Taveras are the weakest links but both have had moments this postseason. As a team, the Rangers lead all other teams with a 124 wRC+ this postseason. When we move to the other side of the ball, that is where things flip a bit. Jordan Montgomery and Nathan Eovaldi have been outstanding, posting a 2.38 and 2.42 ERA respectively but their other two starters, Max Scherzer and Andrew Heaney have struggled to a 9.45 and 8.31 ERA. Like a tag in your favorite sweater that keeps irritating your neck the longer you wear it, Bruce Bochy and the Rangers will begin to feel the irritation the longer this series goes. Whenever I tune into either of these guys's starts, all I can think about is, what if they had Cole Ragans? It doesn't get much easier for the guys from Arlington when the starter comes out of the game. The relievers for Texas have a 3.72 ERA this postseason and while Jose Leclerc has been decent, he has also tossed 10 1/3 innings and at some point, he has got to feel that at some point.
You might be thinking that I'm really down on Texas, and in a way, I am. As I said at the start, this showdown is evenly matched. However, Brandon Pfaadt has been absolute money this postseason but can it continue? His move to the first base side of the rubber, plus added sinker usage, has made him the best starter for the Diamondbacks this postseason, but maybe it is me being a negative Nancy; I don't think his dominance will continue against the Rangers offense. If these games become a low-scoring affair, give me Arizona. If things get out of hand from a scoring perspective, it will most likely come from all those Rangers bats. So, I'll stick with the hitters in this case, but boy, oh boy, I cannot wait for this series to begin.
Josh Culp (@futureoffantasy)
Winner: Rangers in five games
The balanced attack of the Rangers offense is too much to overcome in this series. They have scored five or more runs in seven of their last 11 games which is hard for any team to keep up with. The Diamondbacks have a serviceable team wOBA of .319 this postseason, but the Rangers have five hitters with a postseason wOBA over the .370 mark. That doesn't even include one of their best hitters, Marcus Semien, who is in a serious slump but could ignite the offense even more if he snaps back into top gear. While the Diamondbacks bullpen has certainly impressed at times recently, I fail to consider that a true strength given their ho-hum xFIP (4.25) during the postseason which sits right around the league average performance mark. For all that, I will side with the Rangers to win this series.
Eric Samulski (@samskiNYC)
Winner: Rangers in six games
The Diamondbacks are a good team being unfairly criticized for their regular season record. Their speed causes issues for opposing pitchers, and they have more than a handful of good hitters. The problem is just that as solid as their lineup is, it doesn’t match a TEX lineup that was top 10 in so many offensive metrics this year. They have impact bats up and down the lineup and can put up runs in a hurry. They’ve also withstood the pitching injuries with Montgomery and Eovaldi surging in the postseason.
At the end of the day, the Diamondbacks have speed and the better bullpen and have the advantage if the games are low-scoring. I just don’t see that being how it plays out.
Matthew Pouliot (@matthewpouliot)
Winner: Rangers in five games
The Diamondbacks managed to edge the Phillies while getting little from Zac Gallen, but it doesn’t seem like that can happen again here. Gallen gave up nine runs over 11 innings in his starts against Philadelphia, both of which were losses. He’s struck out a mere 13 of the 96 batters he’s faced in the postseason, leaving him barely over half his regular-season strikeout rate of 26 percent. If he can’t step it up here, then there’s a good chance the series will conclude with his Game 5 start.